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Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the Democratic Nomination -- No, Seriously  by   Seth Abramson  HuPo

Quoting some of the raving socialists at CNN:

Last night on CNN, while discussing Bernie Sanders' landslide victory over Hillary Clinton in West Virginia -- which followed a 5-point Sanders win in Indiana last week -- Michael Smerconish said that "Democratic super-delegates might have to rethink" their support of Hillary Clinton given how dramatically better Sanders fares in head-to-head match-ups against Donald Trump.

After Clinton's Indiana loss, John King had told CNN viewers that "if Sanders were to win nine out of ten of the remaining contests, there's no doubt that some of the super-delegates would panic. There's no doubt some of them would switch to Sanders. What he has to do is win the bulk of the remaining contests. Would that send jitters, if not panic, through the Democratic Party? Yes. Yes it would."

What was the intended role of superdelegates when they were created and what has history shown?

In 1984, the Democratic Party created "super-delegates" -- Party officials with a vote at the Democrats' nominating convention. The hope was that super-delegates would rarely if ever be needed. There was reason to be hopeful on this score: first, because any Democratic nominee able to win even 59 percent of the "pledged" (primary and caucus) delegates would clinch the Democratic nomination before even a single super-delegate had voted; second, because even if a weak front-runner were unable to clinch the Democratic nomination without super-delegates, the candidate behind in the "pledged" delegate count would almost certainly concede before any super-delegates were forced to weigh in.

For 32 years, the Democrats' decision to create super-delegates looked pretty smart. Other than the current primary season -- a single-digit race (54 percent to 45 percent) that's the second-closest Democratic primary of the last 32 years -- only one of the Democrats' primaries, the one in 2008, was ultimately close enough for super-delegates to matter. In that case the losing candidate, Hillary Clinton, decided to concede after the final votes were cast in June. Clinton's concession made the super-delegate question a moot one.

Clinton conceded in 2008 for a number of reasons: her opponent, now-President Obama, agreed to retire her massive campaign debt; she believed (correctly) that Obama would name her either Vice President or Secretary of State, the latter the second-most powerful position in Washington; and finally and most importantly, Obama had kicked the hell out of her in the latter half of the election season, winning 16 of the final 25 states. In other words, there was no reasonable argument for Clinton to make to super-delegates that they should step in to change the primary result.

So why did Clinton concede in 2008?

But Clinton had seriously considered staying in the race past June 7th of 2008. The reason she almost did -- she was barely talked out of it by her aides -- is the very reason Bernie Sanders could still win the Democratic nomination in 2016.

That reason?

Super-delegates exist for only one purpose: to overturn, if necessary, the popular-vote and delegate-count results.
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John King of CNN, and others, have made crystal-clear the scenario under which Bernie Sanders could become the Democratic nominee for President: he runs the table on the remaining primaries and caucuses.

The conditions by June 7:

   Sanders has won 19 of the final 25 state primaries and caucuses (not a typo);

    Sanders is within a few hundred thousand votes of Clinton in the popular vote;

    Sanders has won 54 percent of the pledged delegates since Super Tuesday; and

    Sanders is in a dead heat with Clinton in national polling.

The above alone -- while absolutely stunning; Sanders running significantly better than Obama for the entire second half of the primary season is a major eye-opener -- wouldn't be enough to trigger the second scenario in which super-delegates are suddenly meaningful (as noted above, a front-runner so weak he or she is unlikely to win the general election). What makes 2016 very different from 2008 is that the following items are presently true:

    Sanders has dramatically higher favorable ratings than Clinton, despite months of attacks from his Democratic opponent and Trump and GOP super-PACs generally laying off both Sanders and Clinton;

    Sanders beats Donald Trump nationally by much more than does Clinton (12 points, as opposed to 6 for Clinton, in an average of all national polls);

    Sanders beats Donald Trump in every battleground state by more than does Clinton; and

    Sanders beats Trump by 22 points among independents, while Clinton loses independents to Trump by 2 points.

John King's thought experiment:

Imagine...that you're watching CNN on June 7th and Hillary has just lost California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This comes on the heels of losses in Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon. Clinton hasn't won a state since April; she's behind Donald Trump in national polling; she's tied with or behind Donald Trump in all of the battleground states; she's lost the pledged-delegate battle to Bernie Sanders 53 percent to 47 percent since March 1st; she's lost 19 of the final 25 state primaries and caucuses; her unfavorables are the highest of any Democrat the Party has considered running since World War II; she's losing independent voters to Donald Trump; she's still under investigation by the FBI, and an international criminal is claiming (credibly) that he successfully hacked her basement server and stole classified and top-secret data; 40 percent of Sanders supporters are saying they won't vote for her; and she's come to look exactly like two other Democratic losers -- unlikable policy wonks Al Gore and John Kerry -- rather than the movement candidate Bernie Sanders is and Barack Obama was.

The Clinton camp is betting that Hillary loses zero super-delegates in this situation because -- well, just because.

The Sanders camp is betting that the Democratic Party cares more about winning in November than gamely running a terrible dynasty candidate against a beatable Republican foe.

In the hypothetical John King has imagined, that bet doesn't seem so unreasonable.

Every non-partisan in the national media who's actually looked at the above scenario has concluded that super-delegates would switch to Sanders in the situation described here -- the only question is how many. And if you've actually imagined the scenario described above -- if you actually imagined the rank panic that would be running through the Democratic Party should Hillary lose the largest state in the country to Bernie Sanders at a time when all the hard-data and environmental indicators are suggesting she's a possible loser in the fall -- you're thinking, as I am, that the answer to the question, "How many supers would jump ship in that scenario?" is the same answer I got from John King when I asked him this question directly after the Indiana primary: "Lots."



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 10:08:15 PM EST
THE big weakness in this argument is that superdelegates will care more about winning in November than about maintenance of the existing neo-liberal/neo-conservative duopoly of governance in the US. They may decide that Sanders is a worse danger to their own careers and future prospects than is a Trump presidency.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 11:14:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AS you know I don't have a direct skin in this game, except insofar as the identity of the next US President effects us all.  Either Sanders or Clinton would be a huge improvement on Trump as far as I am concerned, and my only concern is which of them might be more effective in implementing progressive policies.  I don't share your antipathy to Hillary because both she and her husband had a hugely beneficial impact on resolving the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and in that context I see her as anything but a neo-con.

If I have a problem with both Clintons, it is that both have shown a willingness to make compromises with the powers that be to secure their own political futures that have proved to be hugely damaging to almost everyone else.  Top of that list I would put her vote for the Iraq war and Bill's support for financial de-regulation, welfare reform, and his notorious crime bill.

However we must not forget that in doing so, they were only accepting the political balance of power at the time, and not fighting against it hard enough.  That makes them triangulators, compromisers, pragmatists, centrists, or at worst, Machiavellian political operators in my book, not far right neo-conservative or neo-liberal ideologues in my book.

It seems to me that in casually lumping her in with Neo-conservative ideologues, Sanders' supporters are doing the work of the right wing media in attempting to divide the Democratic Party and leaving the way free for the republican nominee, who, too my minds, is an altogether more danger animal.  By all means make the case for Sanders, and hope he wins the nomination, or failing that has a strong presence in and influence of a Hillary administration.  But I think you need to be more nuanced in your criticism of Hillary.  She may end up being the best you can get, and, moreover, the better for having a strong Dem Congressional Majority which is only achievable by the Sanders and Clinton wings of the party working together.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 06:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see any necessary conflict between being a neo-liberal and a triangulator and trying to heal a wound in your ally's side. And I don't hate Hillary so much as I don't believe she will do what so obviously - at least to most progressives - needs to be done with the financial sector and the economy, and that, to me, is FAR more significant than any second or third issue on my agenda. I supported her instead of Obama after Edwards destroyed himself because, from his rhetoric, I could not assure myself that Obama would be even as good as her as president. Fortunately, Obama turned out to be much better than he might have been given his vague promises and I am glad he prevailed. Meanwhile I got to see much more of Hillary in action, which did not further recommend her to me.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 09:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dream on.
by Zwackus on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 07:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't worry, I will - until the Convention.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But those who think Clinton will sail on through the general election to victory might be dreaming even more - if some of the outlying factors already mentioned in this blog actually prove more significant that most expect. While she is much more likely than Sanders to be the Democratic Nominee, she seems to be significantly less likely to win in November against Trump.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:11:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am terrified by the prospect of a Clinton collapse, but I don't see any way to avoid it.

On the other hand, I also worry that Sanders would have turned out to be just as weak, if not weaker, than Clinton against Trump.  Fortunately,  I will not have to see him and his message tarred and destroyed by the right, and forever used as an example of how a Progressive politics is impossible.

by Zwackus on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 03:11:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Taibbi:

The Line That May Have Won Hillary Clinton the Nomination | Rolling Stone

These lunatic resentments drove the effort to blame minority homeowners for the crisis. That effort peaked in a Tea Party movement triggered by a rant by CNBC goof Rick Santelli against the "losers" of the housing crisis. He described them as the "people who drink the water" at the expense of those who "carry the water." As coded language went, it was remarkably un-subtle.

Race was always at the very center of the crash story. It was just never explained that way in the press.

When Hillary Clinton used that line about breaking up the banks not ending racism, she opened a door for Bernie Sanders to talk about all of this. He could have talked about Wall Street not just as a symbol of international greed and corruption, but in terms of a more peculiarly American kind of ugliness.

He could have begun with subprime and plausibly traced all the way back to 40 acres and a mule, explaining the modern problem of wealth inequality as (among other things) a still-extant failure of the Civil Rights movement, an ancient wrong still not corrected.

But he didn't. Sanders I believe fundamentally sees the Wall Street corruption issue as a matter of class, i.e., rich vs. poor. He never found a way to talk about the special edge the financial sector brought/brings to the exploitation of nonwhite America.

by Bernard on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:10:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am pretty sure Sanders is aware of the racial dimension but chose not to take that line. It probably would have gotten him a few percentage more of black votes, which would have helped, but either he didn't like the effect that would have on the framing or he perhaps thought that would be demagoguery. There are equally good arguments that the banksters who brought us the GFC were equal opportunity looters and just went after anything of value, easiest pickings first. What he might have gained in black votes he might have lost more voters elsewhere. And it would have required more nuance in a season of vivid contrasts.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:59:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and I recall Sanders specifically speaking about the greater impact of the GFC on Black and Hispanic Households, but acknowledging that would have undercut Taibbi's argument.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:04:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Taibbi's argument is not that Sanders never mentioned Wall Street's impact on African Americans and Latinos, but when Clinton, a few weeks ago, declared:

"If we broke up the big banks tomorrow," Clinton asked, "would that end racism?"

...he didn't catch that ball even though Clinton was opening him a boulevard.

How well would that have played out with  African American and Latino voters? Being neither, I cannot tell.

by Bernard on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:31:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sanders doesn't campaign based on pandering to specific groups. He believes he has a message that applies to all and goes to lengths to make sure that various groups understand that they are included in that all. This is confusing for people who can no longer conceive that it is possible to campaign without pandering to specific groups and building a coalition of those to whom your campaign panders. Taibbi appears to be among those so confused in this instance.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 01:32:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just a rationalization, supposition. I am with Taibbi on this, that Sanders missed opportunities for bold assertions on race, or did not notice them.
by das monde on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe he missed them, and maybe it was just beyond him.  He clearly means well, but too often seems like he doesn't have his heart in issues of race the same way he does regarding issues of class.  

That kind of line from Hillary is abominable, but I've read enough of the discussions on Kos to see that they are effective, and that there are many more people ready to respond to race and gender issues than there are for class issues.

Sanders seemed to be aiming for a message and a movement that put class and inequality first, and of course supported all those other liberal issues too.  Given what I've seen, I don't think that can work in the modern American political environment.  Racial and social issues need to be front and center, and pull class and economics along with them.

Unfortunately, Hillary seems to be focused on an either/or dynamic that puts her shady deals with the 1% off limits.  Such are the times.

by Zwackus on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 03:18:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is the point of US tribal politics: tribe before class. Which is convenient for capitalism. (Though it's symbolic rather than the result of a conspiracy: tribal politics and capitalism reinforce each other.)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 05:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why Northern Ireland politics has always been about religion rather than class. Capitalist media organs support the tribal/race/religion divise dialectic in order to distract from class.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 11:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For whatever it is worth, I doubt that he was unaware of the power of appealing to race and believe, instead, that he simply chose not to go there. He never did genuflect before Black Lives Matter. Instead he recruited surrogates and himself spoke directly to black audiences emphasizing the length and extent of his history of addressing problems that afflict blacks and other minorities and how his class based agenda will address their wrongs, and, if enacted, redress them. His goal seems to be to win on terms that allow him to push his agenda - not to win at any cost.

I have to agree that this is the best way forward. It would allow everyone's needs to be addressed as part of a common strategy while also serving the real needs of all. What gets sacrificed are the wants of the very rich. Give them what they need and let them readjust their wants.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 09:04:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best way forward wins actual victories, not moral victories.

It will be cold comfort, knowing that one fought the fight in the right way, when I starve to death in a giant pothole after having been deemed too old and too unattractive to make the cut as a domestic slave.

by Zwackus on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 11:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might feel slightly better knowing you had done what you could to change the system than you would had you been a willing slave and still suffered the same fate.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 17th, 2016 at 09:18:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democratic Establishment's Thuggish Power Grab at Nevada Convention
Apparently annoyed at Sanders supporters having managed to take advantage of Clinton delegate candidate no-shows to obtain more spots, the Nevada state party put through rule changes weeks before the state convention that gave the meeting chair complete and arbitrary control of the final step in the delegate certification process. That in turn produced a convention that was entirely undemocratic in the small d sense, with some Sanders delegates who had won their positions via the then-existing rules being stripped of their standing. In addition, the meeting was run on authoritarian lines, with party members offering pro-Sanders motions having the microphones cut off and the meeting being terminated with motions still on the floor [...]

Clinton had 31 more delegates inside of the convention [but ...]

64 is the number of of Bernie Sanders delegates that were not allowed to participate -- this is because they were de-certified and denied entry into the convention [...]

The rule change that they voted about was, in a nutshell, to disregard the results of the second-tier county conventions -- where Sanders' had won -- and only to count the results of the first-tier caucus that Clinton had won. I'd like to remind you that this "voice vote" was held before all of the delegates were present [...]

by das monde on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 02:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They tried the same next door in the Salt Lake County Convention, and then had the nerve to blame the Sanders supporters for daring to speak up.  Clintonistas are like Southerners who blamed civil rights activists for the beatings they received because if they hadn't gotten uppity, the deputies wouldn't have had to beat them.
by rifek on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 07:22:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good catch. I generally find Yves Smith to be reliable and of good judgement.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 09:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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